Corporate Social Responsibility in China’s Football League

Corporate Social Responsibility is a practice that emphasizes, in its simplest definition, “doing the right thing for your company and for everyone else.” China’s football league dropped the ball here starting in the early 1990’s, when football became heavily regulated by the government because of its tremendous fan-base, and also because of a very government-centric culture.

As soon as many large real estate moguls, company owners, and other wealthy investors began to buy clubs and put money into the sport, the government began to implement bureaucracy into it. This became troublesome when player salaries began to plummet, or often be delayed greatly. This is where corruption found its way into the sport.

Gambling rings began to find that players, coaches, and even club owners, were not being paid an adequate amount and found a way to exploit this. Often, the night before a match, players would receive anonymous phone calls, offering thousands of yuan at a time, to throw a match; typically defensemen and goalies, as it was easier for them to sway goals. (For a more detailed look into the Chinese Football League scandals, read here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/20/match-fixing-bribery-chinese-football)

Only recently has China been cracking down upon these clubs (which was especially hard because the investigators were often bribed as well), and issuing fines to players that were intentionally missing goals and failing to play for their teams properly. China’s Football League has been, frankly, a disaster, for decades because of its lack of business-savvy moves. Club owners, referees, coaches, and even the players themselves, have partaken in less-than-ethical moves and have faced the repercussions of it. Competition in the sport was eliminated, players were still only being paid on a bribe-by-bribe basis, and the lousy playing began to eliminate the fan-ship that football once had in China. (Source: http://www.economist.com/node/21541716)

We can see the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility in American sports as well; “Lance Armstrong” became an even more common name after his doping scandals, just months ago. Armstrong, who was an executive on the board of the Livestrong Foundation he founded, was formally forced to step down from many other board positions for charities he was heavily involved in. The mind behind the famous, yellow “Livestrong bracelet” that sold nearly one-hundred million units, the icon of hope for many, was torn of all of these reputations and more upon being found of not playing by the rules and making ethical decisions. Not only was his reputation hurt, but Armstrong’s charitable work and his businesses became just as damaged through his doping scandal. (Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/business/lance-armstrong-doping-scandal-hurts-cyclists-endorsement-career-963406)

These two examples follow the same basic moral: ethics play a large role in personal life as well as in the business of sports. All too often have a lack of morals in business caused disaster, which we’ve come to see as cautionary tales for the future, however, we at All Sports, All Business believe that we can change these negative trends in the sporting industry with personal responsibility, and maybe a couple of reminders from China and the USA of the dangers of not being ethical in business.

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